(written by Dave)
Picking up from where we left off… The ferry ride worked out great. I know that readers are probably starting to think all this talk of Nancy and boats not getting along is nothing but a myth. Believe me, I’ve been there when it hasn’t worked, there is nothing mythical in those times. She now has a system that works pretty good – wrist bands, Dramamine, ginger candy, crackers, sit facing forward near a window and focus on the horizon, etc. The sail was a little bumpy but it worked out.
As promised, Julia met us at the ferry. We were not sure how we would find her but she knew just where to stand with her bicycle. As expected she looked all sporty and fresh – we were thrilled to see her. After our wet cycle and the ferry, we probably didn’t look or smell all that great but Julia was kind enough not to say anything. Julia led us on a short ride across Ystad by bicycle to Oskar’s parents’ home, where we will be living this week.
We felt a bit like royalty. Arriving in a city and not having to wander about looking for a place to stay was great. True royalty would have had a limo but a guide who knew every corner and didn’t need to get out the iPhone map every 2 minutes was treat enough for us. And then there is Oskar parents’ home, an old Swedish farmhouse that has been beautifully restored in traditional style and filled with lots of Swedish antiques. Oskar’s parents and brother are away on holidays and Oskar was at work so Julia gave us the tour, showed us the fully stocked kitchen and told us to make ourselves at home. To think, we wouldn’t need to get out our cook stove all week – we felt pretty spoiled.
Oskar works just across the street at a children’s home so we went over for a visit with him before calling it a day. It is really great to see both Oskar and Julia. We met them in Nice when we were all students in French class. It was fun talking about the class, our most and least favourite teachers and the other students. For Nancy and me, it seems like a lifetime ago that we left Nice but I guess that’s what pedalling 8,000ks across Europe can do to you.
Yesterday we spent the morning relaxing and catching up on chores. We wandered Ystad old town a bit with Oskar in the afternoon. It is a great little town – only 30,000 people or so. There are lots of old buildings done in the traditional style. For such a small town there appears to be lots to see. Nancy (and her sisters) love reading detective novels and Nancy was thrilled to learn that the Kurt Wallander detective stories written by Henning Mankell were based in Ystad. Later in the week we get to go on a Wallander tour with Oskar and Julia – riding a vintage fire engine and taking in the important detective sights.
For dinner last night, we were hosted by Julia’s parents, Liselott and John, and her brother Daniel. Her mother is Swedish and her father Scottish and they are quite entertaining. They put on a fantastic spread. We had some great conversation and storytelling throughout a very enjoyable evening. Remember, getting our camp stove out and making pasta while sitting on the ground is our normal dinner effort. Having such great food, company and the bonus of having chairs with backs on them – here we go feeling spoiled again.
And finally today (my birthday) Oskar, following guidance from Nancy, made his first ever egg and bacon rolls for breakfast. They turned out pretty darn good for a first effort. Oskar is starting law school in August but if that doesn’t work out for him, egg and bacon roll chef could be a potential calling as well.